Montenegro sparks a turning point for NATO

Montenegro sparks a turning point for NATO


Editor: Li Kun 丨


By Han Xudong, professor at the Strategy Teaching and Research Office with the National Defense University PLA China

The Republic Of Montenegro has recently joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which introduces the first new member state since 2009 and also epitomizes NATO’s new round of expansion.

Finland may likely follow suit. NATO, led by the United States, has embarked on an expansion plan in Europe. The colossal military bloc is lobbying Georgia in south Caucasia area across the Ukraine. The US, United Kingdom and Georgia had already conducted joint military drills in Georgia.

There are certain traits to NATO’s expansion, which is looking to absorb new members, while adding to NATO’s cohesion. NATO continues to escalate the arms race with Russia to spark more European countries to fear national security threats that make them more likely to join NATO.

Such actions accelerate construction of stronger missile defense systems in Spain, Romania and Poland to safeguard each NATO country from missile attacks. Additionally NATO hopes to absorb non-European countries into its sphere.

NATO is the result of a cold war mentality and a military tool for the US to rival the former Soviet Union. After the cold war ended, NATO didn’t dissolve, but expanded and continued to assist Washington for global dominance.

With Montenegro joining, NATO is gaining greater influence in the Balkan region with the potential for more former Yugoslavian countries to join in.

Once that happens, NATO would have a powerful impact on the south Caucasus region, which can add to further influence over the Middle East, followed by escalating regional turmoil that may lead Asian countries to join NATO as well.

Washington may accelerate its global hegemonic strategy center to the Asia Pacific region. After the cold war, the strategic goal of the US is to capture global dominance with a hub to control Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Montenegro’s joining NATO would have more followers in Europe, which means NATO has growing defense strength and the US has stronger control over Europe. Subsequently, Washington can look for more dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.

NATO’s eastward expansion can embolden the US to restructure its strategic center, both of which are two essential strategic actions that would influence global security.

Han Xudong, professor at the Strategy Teaching and Research Office with the National Defense University PLA China

The post-Mullah Akhtar Mansoor scenario

The post-Mullah Akhtar Mansoor scenario

Pajhwok PASHTO

Sher Jan Takal

After the Death of Mullah Mansoor facing the new regional dynamics in Term Challenges of fighting against terrorism for USA War, NATO , Pakistan , India, Russia, Iran and China. Peace process with the COMPLEXITY About Taliban is widening after the death of Mullah Mansoor in a drone attack inside Pakistani territory along with a Pakistani passport. The drone attack took place in Baluchistan area near Iranian border, presumably he was returning from Iran. Later on officially Iran rejected the news and said that Mansoor was never visited Iran.

The cooperation between Tehran and slopes Covert Afghan Taliban under the Mansoor seemed to be Driven by threats posed by the emergence of the Islamic State in Afghanistan since early 2015.The emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan is the main reason for cooperation between Taliban and Iran. But Iran has also other strategic stakes in Afghanistan. Tehran is keen on keeping the Taliban from becoming a close ally of its regional archrival, Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan is once again facing serious questions and Televised from International and regional Stockholders for its cooperative role with those elements which are directly Posing threat to the World peace. Apparently Pakistan always shows himself a non-NATO and front-line ally in war against terrorism but the incidents all the time tell different story. Afghanistan incessantly lodge complains about Pakistan covert support with insurgent groups which Pakistan always denied. Pakistan on the Other Side forward counter argument detained Kabul for providing sanctuary to the TTP leaderships somewhere in border area Nuristan and Kunar provinces while also feel worry about the increasing Indian role.

President Obama hailed Mullah Mansoor death “an important milestone” and a “game changer”. One of the arguments which generally circulated in most of the media reports after Mansoor death that he was the most irreconcilable leader. But the Question is that will the next Ameer will be comfortable in the reconciliation.

Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution think-tank said Mansour’s death may only “modestly” help the US effort in Afghanistan. The war has been going on for so long, the Taliban has so many leaders and so much ability to function at the local level even without strong central guidance, that we would be well advised to keep expectations in check, he said.

There are different reports about his personality but most of the expert believed that Mansoor was very astute political maneuverer among all Taliban leader. He was also deeply involved in black empire trade on transnational level. Even then the United Nations, as well as the Afghan government, has described Mullah Mansour as a leader of a cartel rather than an insurgency. On the current year of May 20, AFP Kabul Bureau Chief Anuj Chopra in his article “Lance with love ‘: Afghans revel in bountiful opium harvest” said that “Fighting usually ebbs during the harvest season, illustrating how the Taliban are deeply entwined in the $ 3 billion opium trade, believed to be the mainstay of their insurgency against the government “.

A serious Pakistani liberal English newspaper daily Dawn also very interestingly explained the post Mansoor scenario in its editorial under title “Lessons from Chabahar”. The editorial quoted that “On the day when Pakistan struggled to find the words with which to register its reaction to the killing of Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike on its soil, the leaders of India, Iran and Afghanistan were preparing to meet in Tehran to finalize an agreement. The latter will take economic cooperation between the three countries to a new level. “

On the same day Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, seated between his Afghan counterpart and the Indian prime minister, spoke in a televised address following the signing of a transit accord in which he said, “from Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul, this is a crucial message … that the path to progress for regional countries goes through joint cooperation and utilizing regional opportunities “.

Now it is crystal clear that the current perspective is generating a fresh challenge for Pakistan. Afghan Foreign Office Take full advantage of the must and Take Time Position on Quetta Shurra more tough and Haqqani Network . Pakistan is getting towards more isolation because of its late ambiguous position about Mansoor death. Pakistan has also protested over the drone strike on its territory. Pakistan always opposed the drone strike on the name of collateral damage and violation of its territorial sovereignty.

Some Pakistani liberal security and regional experts are also suggesting to the establishment and GHQ for change in foreign policy towards Afghanistan. But unfortunately the security mind-set had gone too far narrow while dealing with Afghanistan and India. As now Pakistani retired three star general and security analyst Talat Masood itself accept their on narrow security thinking, he says that “Nothing would be better for both Afghanistan and Pakistan than to resolve their differences peacefully through direct negotiations in a spirit of give and take. This should be the rational approach for winning mutual confidence and reducing outside interference. In any case, with regional and global pressures, this evolution has to come sooner or later “. But he also put very interesting question to their own limited thinking and says that “The question here is how those forces in Pakistan that saw the Afghan Taliban as an asset and as a preferred means to protect our interest in Afghanistan would perceive this evolution in the future. “

Author’s brief introduction The writer is a master degree holder in English Literature and working as a Free-lance writer. He can be charity

8 Pak Paramilitary Soldiers Among 30 Rebels In Paktia

8 Pakistani militiamen among 30 rebels killed in Paktia

Pajhwok PASHTU

May 30, 2016 – 20:29

GARDEZ (Pajhwok): At least 30 Taliban insurgents, including eight Pakistani militiamen, have been killed during a clash with Afghan security forces in southeastern Paktia province, an official said on Monday.

The 303rd zone police commander in southeastern region, Maj. Gen. Asadullah Shirzad, told Pajhwok Afghan News the insurgents stormed security check posts in Aryoub Zazai district two days back.

After the attack, security forces launched an operation that resulted in the killing of 30 rebels including eight Pakistani paramilitary troops.

“Eight Pakistani militiamen were killed because they helped the insurgents fight against Afghan security forces.”

The corpses of the insurgents were also shown to reporters and Shirzad said a Pakistani militiaman had also been detained.

He said the insurgents only relied on propaganda and could not really fight against security forces.

The Taliban have not yet commented on their losses.

“If there is no opium cultivation in Helmand, there will be no war”

“If there is no opium cultivation in Helmand, there will be no war”

Mohammad Gulab Mangal, who served as the governor of Helmand province between 2008 and 2012, talks about the anti-narcotic campaign and why it has proved a big disaster.

Q: According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Afghanistan continues to be the top opium producer in the world and Helmand is the largest producer of opium in Afghanistan. Why has the anti-narcotic campaign failed to produce results in this country?
During my tenure as the governor of Helmand province between 2008 and 2012, with the help and assistance of international partners and the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics, the cultivation of drugs decreased significantly. However, since 2012, it has again witnessed an alarming surge.

Different strategies and approaches have been used in the fight against drugs in Afghanistan. In 2004-2005, in order to dissuade farmers from cultivating opium, the government and its international partners used to pay them money. However, that policy did not work as farmers started cultivating more opium to get more money from the government and its foreign donors.

The other approach involved the use of force against farmers, which again back-fired as farmers developed antagonistic feeling for the government. They were supported by armed insurgents and hence the drug production witnessed an alarming surge.

The massive production of drugs in Helmand is because of the suitable weather conditions and also it helps armed insurgents continue war against the government.

Q. How much money was spent on the anti-narcotic campaign in 2004-2005, which eventually proved a disaster? Do you think that gave impetus to the culture of corruption in Afghanistan?
The exact amount is not known to me as the money was paid directly to farmers by foreign donors. Also it was not my direct responsibility. Based on the information and reports I received that time,it was clear that the strategy of dissuading farmers by paying them money did not work. It only led to rampant corruption.

The forged documents were also provided in that process. For example, Ahmad cultivated opium on one acre of land but he mentioned 15 acres of land in documents, so he ended up receiving more money than he ought to receive. That strategy proved a major disaster.

Q.So, do you believe the foreign money that was meant to fight drugs in Afghanistan was not used well?
A: Yes, without any doubt.The two strategies adopted by the government to stop opium cultivation backfired. The cultivation of opium not only increased but it led to surge in corruption.

Many local and foreign entities benefited from it. Today, we are told that billions of dollars have been spent on anti-narcotic campaign, but large chunk of that money was squandered.

Q. A special unit had been established in Helmand province to combat drugs. Why was it not effective?
A:After the policy of government to dissuade farmers by paying them money failed, a special unit was founded to stop opium cultivation. It also created wedge between farmers and the government and many of them joined armed insurgents. On the other hand, it led to massive corruption.Farmers used to give them hefty money for not destroying their opium fields.

Q.In one of your statements, you said the war in Helmand is not about insurgency, it is a war for drugs. Do you still stand by that statement?
A:It is true.The armed opposition groups in Helmand province receive money from farmers cultivating opium.They even force farmers and drug smugglers in the areas controlled by the government to give them money.

That is primarily why we see fewer attacks during the time of opium harvest in Helmand. After the harvest season, they buy arms and ammunition and scale up their dastardly activities. It shows that the opium money received by insurgents goes into the war. Opium funds Taliban’s war in Helmand. If there is no opium, there will be no war.

Q. If the cultivation of opium is banned in Helmand; do you think the war will also come to an end? And what should be done to stop the cultivation of opium?
If opium cultivation is stopped in Helmand, I can certainly tell you the war in that province will suffer a major setback. In the context of Helmand, the cultivation of opium and war are directly connected to each other.So, the war against drugs is the war against insurgency in Helmand.

During my tenure as the governor, I tried to develop good relations with local people. We used to solve their problems through government institutions and carried out many health, agriculture and education projects. During those four years (2008-2012), the opium cultivation decreased significantly.

But since 2012, the cultivation has again jumped. The opium farms are now in government controlled areas as well, which is a matter of deep concern.

Q.How big is this problem of opium cultivation and what should the national unity government do to fight it?
In my opinion, fight against drugs is as important as the fight against terrorism. It requires strong political will, without which the counter-narcotic efforts will prove futile. Secondly, it requires an out-of-box strategy and joint effort from both the government and its international partners.

Pakistan Names Afghan Generals As “Master Handlers” of NDS Agents Captured In Balochistan

Maj-Gen Naeem ‘master handler’ of NDS agents in Balochistan

the nation pakistan

Jawad R Awan


epa03470408 General Muhammad Naeem Baloch, governor of volatile Helmand province, briefs the media after a meeting with Maurits Jochems (unseen), NATO's Senior Civilian representative for Afghanistan, in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan, 14 November 2012. Maurits Jochems, appointed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in August 2012, replaced Simon Gass, as new NATO's Senior Civilian representative in Afghanistan in October 2012.  EPA/SHER KHAN

epa03470408 General Muhammad Naeem Baloch, governor of volatile Helmand province, briefs the media after a meeting with Maurits Jochems (unseen), NATO’s Senior Civilian representative for Afghanistan, in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan, 14 November 2012. Maurits Jochems, appointed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in August 2012, replaced Simon Gass, as new NATO’s Senior Civilian representative in Afghanistan in October 2012. EPA/SHER KHAN

Major General Naeem Baloch emerged as the “master handler” of the Afghan intelligence service operatives in Balochistan with

Gen. Mohammad Naeem Momin.
Maj General Momin as his key lieutenant to advance subversion in the volatile province, security agencies sources told The Nation yesterday.

Six operatives of Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS) including a serving army lieutenant had been captured by country’s premier security service Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in different catch operations in Balochistan.

In a press conference addressed by Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti five days back, confessional video statements of the six had also been aired in which the captured admitted getting instructions from two serving major generals of Afghan Army and a

Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Sayed Malook, commanding general of the 215th Corps, sings along with the Afghanistan national anthem at the Afghan Border Police Headquarters in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Oct. 8, 2013. Maj. Gen. Walter L. Miller Jr., commanding general of Regional Command (Southwest), and other staff traveled to the ABP Headquarters to attend the promotion ceremony of several personnel. (Official Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Tammy K. Hineline/Released)

Afghan National Army Maj. Gen. Sayed Malook, commanding general of the 215th Corps, sings along with the Afghanistan national anthem at the Afghan Border Police Headquarters in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Oct. 8, 2013. Maj. Gen. Walter L. Miller Jr., commanding general of Regional Command (Southwest), and other staff traveled to the ABP Headquarters to attend the promotion ceremony of several personnel. (Official Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Tammy K. Hineline/Released)

retired major general, Sayed Mallok.

More members of the General Naeem Baloch’s spy ring were caught in fresh operations by the ISI. The new catch includes only NDS agents of Afghan origin though none of them is of officer’s rank.

Sleeper units connected with the fresh bust are likely to be neutralised soon, said the security agencies sources.

The NDS agents used Afghan refugee camps and vicinities as cover to advance their subversive operations on Pakistani soil. They were coordinating with operatives of Indian intelligence service RAW in operations aimed at destroying the projects connected with CPEC, added the security agencies sources.

The first base of anti-Pakistan operations is Helmand province while a forward base is neighbouring Kandahar province of Afghanistan according to the disclosures of the captured, they added.

Major General Naeem Baloch, the longest serving NDS officer, emerged as the head of the “offensive intelligence operations” in Balochistan. He continued the operations even when he was made governor of Helmand province.

The key handler of operations from forward base of Kandahar is Major General Abdul Raziq AchakzaiMajor General Abdul Raziq Achakzai, the police chief of the province, who served in the NDS as regional commander.

Major General Momin, who was also a regional commander of the Afghan intelligence service, emerged as the key lieutenant of General Naeem Baloch.

General Mallok, who commanded 215th Maiwand Corps in Helmand province, had the task to train the NDS agents to launch subversion including bombings, assassinations and targeted kidnappings, according to the disclosures of the Afghan agents.

General Baloch and his key lieutenant General Momin trained the NDS agents for launching spying operations including surveillance of the targets, monitoring security forces movements, dodging counter-surveillance, propaganda operations, using technical gadgetry, making contacts with insurgents and local agents and cultivating new agents both of local and Afghan origin.

The master handler General Baloch headed the NDS as its regional chief in Helmand, Nimruz and Ghor provinces from 2002 to 2009. He remained deputy director of Afghan intelligence at its directorate from 2009 to 2011.

He also worked as chairman of board of high public function for NDS from 2011 to 2012 before his appointment as Helmand governor, according to the security agencies sources.

In ISI trail of the Afghan intelligence service’s subversive operations on Pakistani soil this year, two officers of the NDS and more than two dozen – mostly of Afghan origin and few local agents – had been captured from Balochistan.

The six operatives of the NDS captured few days back in their confessional video statements said that Rs80,000 were paid by the Afghan intelligence per bombing and Rs250,000 per target killing. Training, logistic support and weapons were also provided by the NDS.

This was the second biggest catch of the ISI after

Commander Kulbushan YadavCommander Kulbushan Yadav, the top spy of Indian RAW handling Balochistan and Karachi operations with special focus on CPEC. RAW spy had also the assistance of the NDS Kandahar station.

Published in The Nation newspaper on 30-May-2016

Indian PM To Visit Herat To Inaugurate New Salma Hydroelectric Dam

[Herat Prepares To Welcome Afghan, Indian Leaders]

Indian PM to Inaugurate Salma Dam on June 4

outlook afghanistan

Indian PM to Inaugurate Salma Dam on June 4

KABUL – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Afghanistan this week to inaugurate a major dam project in Western Herat province, a news channel reported.
After his trip to the war-torn country, where India is sponsoring several reconstruction schemes, Modi would fly to the US to address a joint session of the Congress on June 8, NDTV said on Sunday.
Modi will go to Afghanistan on June 4, where he will inaugurate the Salma Dam in Herat that has been funded by India, the channel quoted unnamed sources as saying.
Afghan officials from the Ministry of Water and Energy have already received training in India on how to run affairs of the water reservoir. Twenty-seven more officials would be provided special training on dam management.
Salma Dam is located in the Chesht-i-Sharif locality of Kohistani district, 160km east of Herat City, the provincial capital. The dam has been constructed by an Indian company with the help 700 workers, including 250 Indians.
From Herat, he would head for Qatar on June 5 for talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, NDTV said. He will stop in Switzerland on his way to Washington. The Switzerland visit is being worked out for June 6. (Pajhwok)

Secret Speech Is Not Really “Speech,” So, Why Is It Protected?

money drugSOURCE    

‘Dark money’ scourge: Well-funded secret speech corrodes politics

pittsburgh post gazette

For years we’ve been told the reason there are so many negative campaign attack ads is simple — because they work. That makes sense when candidates and campaigns spend hundreds of millions of dollars on such ads, mostly 30-second television commercials. If they didn’t work, why waste all that money?

But now we’re faced with a darker and more sinister explanation, thanks to research conducted by the Ohio Media Project. It’s a consortium of radio and television stations and the largest newspapers in the state, including the Post-Gazette’s sister paper, The Blade of Toledo.

The group, with the help of the Jefferson Center, a Minnesota-based nonpartisan civic engagement group, the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron and a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, found that such ads are designed to suppress voter turnout as much as they are to persuade voters to support one candidate over another.

Researchers found that only about 1 percent of voters, primarily independents, are moved from one camp to another because of negative ads, but in swing states, like Ohio, sometimes elections are decided by 1 percent or less. But the researchers also found that, “especially with moderate voters, you get a demobilization effect, where they just kind of turn off, ‘This is a nasty campaign, I just want to stay home.’ ”

That is truly sinister and profoundly anti-democratic.

Equally disturbing as the attack ads and their intent is the answer to this question. Who is paying for this garbage? In the 2012 presidential election, independent spending — by groups not connected with either political party — came to $424.4 million supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and $145 million supporting Democratic President Barack Obama.

The sources of that money, often called “dark money,” are being kept secret, and that is wrong.

Because of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, and a series of regulations by the FEC and the Internal Revenue Service, millionaires and billionaires can donate as much cash as they want to independent groups such as super political action committees and never worry about their names or a dollar amount being entered on the public record. The court ruled that spending money on a candidate is a form of free speech, so it can’t be regulated. But even if you accept the notion that money is speech, there is no justification for the lack of transparency. Secret speech is not speech.

The super PAC Americans for Prosperity is a good example. Look up its 2012 expenditures in and the only line that comes up is: $33,542,051 spent against President Obama’s re-election.

The Center for Responsive Politics identified AFP’s biggest contributor as Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, which is controlled by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch. But the FEC did not require this disclosure.

In January, Charles Koch held a meeting with 500 supporters at his California estate, telling reporters, “This isn’t some secret cabal. We have ideas that will make America better.”

It’s true Mr. Koch has ideas about how America should be run. That’s not the point. The tens of millions of dollars he’s decided to spend to elect a politician to implement those ideas is the point. That is not a secret he should be allowed to keep from the public.

From the mid-1970s to 2010 there was near total consensus in this nation on at least one principle: full disclosure and transparency. We ought to know where the money is coming from and where it is going.

Democracy needs light. When power is exercised in the shadows, motives and ends are usually being hidden and the common good is usually being betrayed.

Meet the Editorial Board.